Charles Fraser MacLean

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Charles Fraser MacLean (November 21, 1841 – March 20, 1924)[1] was an American jurist.

Born in New Hartford, New York, he began attending Yale University as a junior in 1862. He graduated in 1864 and was a member of Skull and Bones.[1] In 1866, he was the first person to be awarded a PhD in philosophy from an American institution.[2] His dissertation was A Critique of John Stuart Mill's Examination of Hamilton's Philosophy.[3] In 1869 he earned his JUD at the University of Berlin.[1] His dissertation was De Jure Emigrandi.[4]

During the Franco-Prussian War, MacLean was a war correspondent for the New York World.[1][5][6] He accompanied U.S. military observer General Philip Sheridan and acted as his interpreter. He was one of the first non-combatants to enter Paris following the surrender of the French[1][5] and witnessed the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.[1] He recounted the Battle of Sedan and the capture of Napoleon III in his "The Surrender of an Emperor", published in The Second Book of the Authors Club: Liber Scriptorum (1921).[7] He also interviewed Otto von Bismarck,[5] Patrice de Mac-Mahon, Duke of Magenta, Adolphe Thiers, and Léon Gambetta.[1]

After a brief stint in St. Petersburg for The Times, he returned to the US to practice law. He entered the law office of Samuel J. Tilden,[1] who was related to his mother,[8] and would practice law in New York City most of the rest of his life.[1] He lectured on law at Columbia University (1873–4) and New York University (1885–97).[1] He served on the Board of Police Commissioners variously as counsel, a member, and president and served in various other city office and boards.[1] He was elected to be a judge on the New York Supreme Court and served for fourteen years (1895–1909).[1]

In 1887, he married Marie Mott (1854?–1946), daughter of industrialist Jordan L. Mott.[1][9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "OBITUARY RECORD OF YALE GRADUATES 1923–1924" (PDF). Yale University. August 1, 1924. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ John R. Shook (2005). Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers. Continuum. p. ix. ISBN 978-1-84371-037-0. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Doctors of Philosophy of Yale University: With the Titles of Their Dissertations, 1861–1915. Graduate School, Yale University. 1916. p. 186. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  4. ^ MacLean, Charles Fraser (1 January 1869). "De jure emigrandi dissertatio inauguralis quam ... publice defendet". Typis expressit Carolus Feicht – via Hathi Trust. 
  5. ^ a b c "EX-JUSTICE MACLEAN DIES AT AGE OF 82: Had Been on Supreme Bench From 1889 to 1909 – Held Various City Offices". New York Times. 21 Mar 1924. p. 19. 
  6. ^ Busch, Moritz (1884). Bismarck in the Franco-German war, 1870–1871. C. Scribner's sons. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  7. ^ "CMU Libraries: Book: Liber scriptorum". 
  8. ^ Anderton, Stephen B. (1921). "Memorial of Charles F. Maclean". Yearbook. New York County Lawyers' Association. pp. 240–41. Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  9. ^ "MRS. C.F. M'LEAN, JURIST'S WIDOW, 92: Former Marie Mott, Member of Noted Family, Dies—Owned City's Oldest Drug Store". New York Times. 13 July 1946. p. 10.